Marry or else – church

April 29, 2014

A Gore church has given one of its members an ultimatum to marry her de facto partner or leave him:

A 72-year old Southland woman has had her 30-year church membership revoked because she lives in a de facto relationship.

The Calvin Community Church, a Presbyterian church in Gore, has revoked the membership of one of its long-term members because her relationship with a man she lives with was “at variance with what is expected of a member of Calvin Community Church”.

The woman said she was told “out of the blue” she had to either marry her long-term partner, leave him, or no longer be a church member.

She was still able to attend the church, but she has declined to do so because “they have discussed my private life around the table”. . .

The woman and her partner, who have both been married previously, have been together for eight years and have been living together in Gore for three years.

As a Christian, she said she would prefer to be married to align with her beliefs.

But her partner was not ready and it was not anyone’s place to force someone into marriage, she said.

“There is only one judge and that is God. Why break up a happy relationship. I’m very happy living with him, I’m too late in life to go through a relationship upset.”

“I’ve thought about it and prayed about it and I’m happy with my relationship.”

Elders at the Gore church disagreed.

In a letter to the distraught woman, senior pastor Keith Hooker said those who wished to be counted as members were responsible for upholding the church’s standards in accordance with scripture.

It was the church’s view living unmarried with a long-term partner did not meet those requirements.

“You have said that your partner is not willing to marry you. Although being married is outside of your control it is, however, your decision to remain in the relationship,” his letter says.

“While we respect your right to live in a de facto relationship, it is quite clearly at variance with what is expected of a member of Calvin Community Church.” . .

Cohabitating without a marriage certificate used to be called living in sin.

This church still believes it is.

She’s still welcome to worship but not be a member.

It’s the church’s right to do that – is it right to do it?





Missed connection

April 18, 2014

She recalled that when she was a child hot cross buns and Easter eggs were sold immediately before Easter and eaten on Good Friday and Easter Sunday respectively.

Her younger colleague asked why.

She said because the cross was a reminder of the crusifiction and while the eggs were linked to spring festivals there was also a theory they resembled the stone at the entrance to Christ’s tomb.

The colleague looked blank.

She said, “You must have heard the Easter story.”

The colleague nodded and said she had a vague recollection of it but had never made the connection between it and Easter food.

She could well be in the majority.

Last year’s census showed fewer than half New Zealanders are affiliated to a Christian religion.

In 2013, the number of people who affiliated with a Christian religion (including Māori Christian) decreased to 1,906,398 (48.9 percent of all people who stated their religious affiliation), down from 2,082,942 (55.6 percent) in 2006. 

Graph, People affiliated with Christian religions, 2001, 2006, and 2013 Censuses.

The conversation above suggests that with the loss of faith there’s also been a loss of knowledge about the historical and cultural context of celebrations like Easter.


White smoke

March 14, 2013

The Telegraph’s live coverage of the papal conclave is showing crowds cheering as white smoke and ringing bells signal a new pope has been elected.

He is yet to appear on the balcony.

Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been elected as the new pope.

Knowing when to go

February 12, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI has broken with tradition by announcing he will resign at the end the month.

It’s a very sensible decision to stand down if he feels he is no longer able to do what’s required, rather than hanging on to die in office as his predecessors have done for centuries.

Too often people cling on to a position in business, politics, sport or voluntary organisations, instead of stepping back with their dignity intact before their ability, health, energy and/or  enthusiasm falters.

It isn’t always easy to know when to go but it’s always better to choose to go when you’re still making a positive contribution and can use your talents elsewhere or simply slow down and smell the roses.

The alternative is to be pushed, implicitly or explicitly because you’re no longer up to the job.

In the beginning

September 11, 2012

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth . . .

That’s what Genesis says and when John Banks said recently he believed the Biblical account of creation he was  ridiculed for it.

This week we’re reminded that David Shearer believes that taniwha must be respected.

Who will dare laugh at him for that?

It is a puzzling sign of the times that Christian beliefs are ripe for ridicule but indigenous gods and pantheism are treated as gospel or at least respect.

Hat tip:Keeping Stock

No Missionaries

January 31, 2012

GoNZo Freakpower wonders if a sign saying No Missionaries will keep unwanted people from his place the way a No Junk Mail sign keeps unwanted rubbish from his mailbox.

If it doesn’t he could follow the example of a friend who keeps a Bible reading by the door and quotes it at anyone who calls on a mission to convert her to their brand of religion.

Or he could try tears – it worked for me.

Our baby son and I had been home for only a couple of days after his eventful first couple of weeks of life during which he’d stopped breathing several times and had multiple seizures when we had to return to hospital.

My farmer and I decided it would be better if I drove down to Dunedin myself so I could keep the car down there. It seemed like a good idea until he went to the stock sale with our daughter leaving me at home alone.

A few minutes later some religious peddlers knocked on the door.

When I opened it they asked how I was. I said, “My baby’s dying,” and burst into tears.

They took one horrified look at me and fled.

I admire missionaries who do practical good but have never understood those who only preach. This experience reinforced my prejudice – if they’d taken their faith seriously they would have offered to help.

Meeting market without mangling message

January 8, 2012

An Australian priest is asking for crosses to be removed from hot cross buns  which are on sale in supermarkets already –  13 weeks before Easter.

Burnie priest Father Tony Kennedy said hot cross buns were originally eaten on Good Friday to remind people of the day Jesus died on the cross but they had lost much of their religious significance.

Lost much of their significance? I’d say they’ve lost all significance and have merely become another seasonal food item sold well out of season.

Meanwhile, Coles media spokesman Jon Church said it was up to Coles customers to decide how they would mark religious holidays.

“We put the cross on our buns because that’s how they like them,” he said. The buns went on sale early because customers wanted it.

If customers like a cross why give it to them for only 13 weeks before Easter, why not give them crosses for the other 39 weeks as well?

Has the supermarket asked customers if they want the cross or if it’s just that the cross identifies a type of bun they want?

Has the supermarket tried selling the buns made to that recipe without the cross?  That way they could meet the market without mangling the message of Easter.

Hot crossless buns might be just as popular.

They might be even more popular because they’d sell to people like me who react against all these desperate attempts to  get customers to buy more by ignoring them completely.


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